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Instagram offers video facility

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Remember the days before Instagram when a person and their dinner were a private affair rather than an experience to be shared, instantly, so that an agog audience could murmur "refried beans and guacamole, cool"? Well, let it go; those carefree times are never coming back.

Our over-mediated lives, or at least the lives of those who embrace this kind of inanity, are about to get even more documented as Instagram moves on from still pics to 15 second videos. Not only can your followers get a close up of that chicken burrito, they can watch you stuffing it into your face. And thus civilisation takes another step towards the abyss.

The Facebook subsidiary hopes this will broaden the appeal of the site even further, although with 130 million users already, Instagram is hardly an obscure cult. Co founder Kevin Systrom said: "This is the same Instagram we all know and love," (we know it Kev, we don't necessarily love it), "but it moves."

Look beyond the excitable geek-speak of the tech multi-millionaire though and you discover a ruthless business streak. In this case, the move into movies is an attempt to eliminate uppity rival Vine, which launched in January and has already reached 13 million users, thanks in part to its video facility. Vine's videos are a mere six seconds long though. Instagram's 15 second epics are an obvious attempt to blow the rival out of the water.

Like so many supposed tech success stories though, the commercial bottom line still looks a little shaky. Facebook paid £461 million for Instagram in August 2012, but hasn't made any of that back as yet because there is no advertising on the site. Admittedly data-farming and the controversial Instagram user agreements that make it easy for the site to use content for their own purposes might have made it an attractive acquisition, but a more direct way of making Instagram users pay for the service in future cannot be ruled out.

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